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Challenges in Bioenergy Production from Sugarcane Mills in Developing Countries: A Case Study

Scuola di Ingegneria Industriale, Politecnico di Milano, Via Scalabrini 76, Piacenza 29100, Italy
Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Seccional Cali, Cll 18 118-250 Cali, Colombia
Department of Energy, Politecnico di Milano, Via Lambruschini 4, Milano 20156, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2014, 7(9), 5874-5898;
Received: 15 May 2014 / Revised: 6 August 2014 / Accepted: 27 August 2014 / Published: 10 September 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Resource Efficiency for the Biobased Industries)
Worldwide energy policies are moving towards a reduction of fossil fuels’ share in the energy mix and to invest in renewable and green energy sources. Biomass is one of these, and it represents, in the form of sugarcane, a strategic source in Colombia, especially in the Valle del Cauca. In this region, the sugarcane industry is able to convert the energy content of the cane into different energy products, such as ethanol, electricity, and high-pressure steam, which are cogenerated via bagasse combustion. In this work, the case of a sucrose and ethanol production plant, which mills ten thousand tons of sugarcane per day, is considered. A tailor-made computational model was developed to assess the energy and material process balances in order to estimate the effect of different operating conditions on cogeneration boilers and turbines, and to optimize the overall process efficiency. The current situation was modeled with good precision from the developed model. Likewise, the concept of “Renewable Efficiency” was introduced to explain the degree of green power, which a process plant is able to produce. Consequently, new innovative solutions and process layouts were proposed in order to increase their renewable efficiency. With the new configurations, a convenient energy surplus of up to 33 MW can be reached, which could be sold in the national electricity grid, representing long-term interesting economic benefits for the company. View Full-Text
Keywords: cogeneration; optimization; bioenergy; repowering; sugarcane; biomass cogeneration; optimization; bioenergy; repowering; sugarcane; biomass
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Colombo, G.; Ocampo-Duque, W.; Rinaldi, F. Challenges in Bioenergy Production from Sugarcane Mills in Developing Countries: A Case Study. Energies 2014, 7, 5874-5898.

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